Bring It On

I find myself constantly defining words.

Whether it is something I’m reading or pondering about, I oftentimes catch myself defining words just so I can get a better grasp of what I am truly searching for in them.  And yes, I am THAT person who enjoys going to dictionary.com and exploring the new word of the day.  Typical minor in writing thing to do, right?

So, here’s my progression with this project:

Repurposing Project.  Repurpose (verb): adapt for use in a different purpose.  I found it really interesting that the definition used the word adapt.  When I think of this word, I think of adjusting to new conditions; this helped me to envision what I needed to do.

I need to adapt what I already have for a new outlet.  This made me feel better in knowing that I didn’t have to start anew with my topic.  My original thought was that I might have to since I wasn’t quite sure how to turn reflective passages and letters into an article.  But, hey, I chose to be a writer for a reason, right?

Bring it on.

What I found most interesting about my research on gratitude, which is my topic for this project, is that most other articles in The New Yorker relating to it are about the holidays.  In fact, many of the articles I found online via other magazines discussed gratitude in the same manner.  Most of them focused on Thanksgiving, in particular.

So, why is this the case?  Why do we put such an emphasis on gratitude at these times of the year and not at others?

This very fact proved to me that my choice of writing a magazine article on this topic is something that is needed.

But then this happened…

Writer's Block
Writer’s Block

I got all of these great ideas about my exigence and didn’t know what to do with them!

Since that happened, I focused mainly on the layout of my article.  I know that I want to start off with a catchy title in a large, bold font.  My goal is to make the title a short phrase.  I also would like to use two images since this will be a longer article.  Upon researching other articles done by The New Yorker, I have learned that they do not include captions with their images; this is a stylistic choice I will have to be aware of.

Also, I found an article that has influenced my ideas for this project:

Mother’s Day Article

I really enjoyed how the writer’s personal narrative flowed into their argument and facts.  As I continue the early writing stages of my article, I plan on keeping this in mind and mirroring this progression of buildup in my own.

But I still have a few questions.

What kind of tone should I aim for – should it be more relaxed and relatable, or should it be more serious?

Also, what do you think about balancing personal narrative with research?  Should I focus on one more than the other?

Please let me know in the comments below!

~~

Amanda Kemmer

Amanda (noun): Ross BBA senior. Avid puppy lover. Detroit International Half-Marathon runner.

3 thoughts to “Bring It On”

  1. I am so glad you decided on gratitude as your topic! When we were discussing possible topics within our blog groups this one really seemed interesting and I am eager to read your final draft. I personally really enjoy the tone you have been using in your more recent blog posts. You’ve broken through, and I feel like I am getting to know you better. You’re sweet and quirky–kinda silly too. I think this would be a great voice to use when writing about a topic that seems so serious. Less serious readers might react by thinking… if someone as fun loving as this author sees a need for gratitude then maybe I should evaluate my use of gratitude. More serious readers would still value your words, possibly adding their own layers of meaning to them. Obviously, if you’re writing for the New Yorker your formatting couldn’t be the same as the one you use in your blogs, but I say keep the tone!

    As for balancing personal narrative with research, I think this is definitely going to be challenging to do well. My initial thought is that it might be more interesting to focus more on the narrative than on the research. Is there a way you could tie research into your narrative? However, I think which you focus more on will have to do with your overarching theme or argument. Is this theme or argument something you have learned from life? If yes, writing more of a narrative seems more appropriate. Is your theme or argument an idea you developed through research? If yes, more of a research centered paper with personal narrative tid-bits as examples may be more appropriate. I don’t want to pretend I have any authority on the subject of integrating research with personal narratives, but I hope this helps! Good luck!

  2. First of all, I was definitely a subscriber to Dictionary.com’s Word of the Day, so you’re not alone in that one! I love that you mentioned how gratitude only seems to be brought up during the holidays, I think it’s so important to keep that in mind as much as possible, so I think it’s a great topic for your project. I think if your target audience is students our age, like you mentioned in class, a more relaxed tone would probably suit the piece more. Gratitude is one of those concepts that can come off as preachy and actually be taken less seriously if it’s just straight fact; relating to your audience will keep it accessible and something for readers to thoughtfully consider. If you add a personal aspect to it, it will give it more of a “we’re in this together” sort of feel, and will be more approachable for an audience. As for narrative vs. research, I do think the thing that is really going to convince the readers is your own personal story and feelings about gratitude, just given the personal and emotional nature of the topic. Of course, I don’t want to impose these ideas on you, I think any angle you take will be unique and personal and will be most engaging by virtue of the fact that you are so invested in this topic. Hope that helped a bit! Best of luck.

  3. First of all I love how you went back to the basics and looked up the definition of repurposing. I often do this myself when I don’t know where to begin. The cartoon is cute as well! I am surprised that the New Yorker doesn’t have more articles on gratitude and it seems very problematic that they only focus on gratitude during the holidays.

    I like how you are paying close attention to the style of the New Yorker so that your piece can match. In terms of tone, I agree with Sonalee; relating to the audience is probably better so that you don’t come off as too stern or “preachy.” In terms of finding a balance with personal narrative and research, I agree with Lia’s comments. Are the reflective passages you are adapting based on your own life? If the theme is more relevant to your own life, then focus mainly on personal narrative with research to back up your points. Good luck with everything!

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